RACING Queensland stewards today concluded an inquiry into a report from the Queensland Government Racing Science Centre that a blood sample taken from Shadow Son at Albion Park on 26 February 2016 prior to it competing in Race 8, returned an elevated total plasma carbon dioxide (TCO2) concentration of 36.9 mmol/L on initial testing and 37.0 mmol/L on confirmatory analysis.
Evidence was today taken from licensed trainer Paul Matis who explained his feeding and husbandry practices leading up to the race in question. Evidence was also provided by Dr Karen Caldwell and Samantha Nelis, (RSC).
After considering all the available evidence Stewards issued Matis with a charge pursuant to Australian Harness Racing Rule 193 (3) which reads: “A person shall not administer or allow or cause to be administered any medication to a horse on race day prior to such horse running in a race.”
Stewards were mindful of Rule 193 (6) which states: “For the purposes of this rule medication means any treatment with drugs or other substances.”
The particulars of the charge being that Matis, as the licensed trainer of Shadow Son when it raced at Albion Park on 26 February 2016, did administer or allow or cause to be administered medication, namely an alkalinising agent, to that horse on race day.
Stewards placed significant weight on the expert evidence provided by Dr Caldwell whose opinion is based on peer reviewed scientific research and statistical analysis.
This evidence supported the notion that the only credible explanation for the elevated level of TCO2 detected in the blood sample taken from Shadow Son was by way of administration of an alkalinising agent on race day. Stewards also took into consideration the analysis of a resting blood sample taken from Shadow Son, and the fact that other race day blood samples taken from Shadow Son when in the care of Matis returned TCO2 levels within the average range.
Matis pleaded not guilty to the charge as issued, however, after further consideration, Stewards found the charge could be sustained and found him guilty.
When assessing an appropriate penalty Stewards accepted that the measurement of 36.9 mmol/L and 37mmol/L did not give rise to a positive sample when taking into account the 1 mmol/L allowance for the measurement of uncertainty, however a positive result is not required when Stewards consider whether a person is in breach of AHR Rule 193 (3).
Matis’ previous unblemished record under this rule, his 45-year license history, his personal circumstances and penalty precedents for a breach of this rule were also taken into account.
Stewards were of the opinion that any penalty imposed must serve as both a specific deterrent and a general deterrent to reflect the seriousness of the charge and to illustrate to the industry that a breach of this nature will not be tolerated.
Matis was fined $5000.
Acting under AHR Rule 193 (5) Shadow Son was disqualified from its 10th placing from Race 8 at Albion Park on 26 February 2016 and all other placegetters were amended accordingly.
Matis was advised of his rights of appeal.
- RQ Media